British Museum seeks ‘new relationship’ with Greece amid Parthenon sculptures dispute

The British Museum seeks “realistic solutions” for the Parthenon Sculptures and a “new relationship” with Greece, following Turkey’s intervention at a UNESCO conference when a Turkish representative claimed no Ottoman document legitimizes Lord Elgin’s actions regarding the ancient Greek sculptures.

“The British Museum acknowledges Greece’s strong desire for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens. We understand and respect the deep emotions involved,” a museum spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The museum aims to develop a “collaboration for the Parthenon” monument and explore innovative cooperation with Greece to enhance the global understanding and appreciation of the sculptures.

The ongoing debate between Greece and the UK concerning the sculptures intensified when Turkey’s spokesperson at a meeting of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) last week denied knowledge of a written authorization allowing Britain’s Lord Elgin to sell large sections of the Parthenon’s sculptural decorations that had been removed from the ancient Greek citadel between 1801 and 1812, when Athens was under Ottoman rule.

Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni reiterated that no Ottoman firman authorized Elgin’s removal of the sculptures. Greece remains committed to reuniting the Parthenon Sculptures in the Acropolis Museum, emphasizing it as a national objective.